News roundup - Tuesday, 31 January

Ljubljana, 31 January - Below is a roundup of major events on Tuesday, 31 January:

Slovenia loses one point in Corruption Perceptions Index

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia lost one point in the Corruption Perceptions Index last year to score 56 out of 100 points, the lowest so far. It ranked 41st among 180 countries, the same as the year before, follows from the report, released by Transparency International (TI). TI Slovenia finds this "very worrying and believes the trend will continue unless all decision-makers maintain zero tolerance of corruption". The Commission for the Prevention of Corruption said Slovenia's record low score showed it was time to act. The legislation needs to be reviewed and sanctions introduced for violations, it said.

Slovenia and Portugal to boost bilateral cooperation

LJUBLJANA - Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon and her Portuguese counterpart Joao Gomes Cravinho underscored friendly relations between Slovenia and Portugal as they met in Ljubljana. They urged expanding cooperation, especially in business. Fajon also pointed to opportunities offered by the EU MED Group and the Union for the Mediterranean. The pair also attended a discussion on science and diplomacy for sustainable development at the Euro-Mediterranean University (EMUNI) in Piran.

Investment announcements mark 30 years of Slovenian navy

KOPER - The 30th anniversary of the Slovenian navy, officially the 430th Naval Division, was marked in Koper on Monday with Defence Minister Marjan Šarec highlighting the importance of stepping up naval strength. Several investment projects were announced, including the construction of a dedicated pier in the port of Koper and a military ship upgrade. Moreover, the Russian-made military ship Triglav will be upgraded to align with NATO standards.

Minister: Media reform to prioritise protection of STA, RTV independence

LJUBLJANA - Culture Minister Asta Vrečko, who is also in charge of media policy, said that the priority of the planned media reform would be protecting the independence of the Slovenian Press Agency (STA) and the public broadcaster RTV Slovenija. Another priority will be the effort to ensure fairness and transparency of state-funded advertising and a comprehensive and sustainable model of funding media content that is in the public interest.

After marriage equality, focus shifts on IVF for single women

LJUBLJANA - As amendments to the family code providing for marriage equality entered into force, LGBT+ rights representatives and members of the Left announced efforts to give single women access to in vitro fertilisation and to end discrimination against trans persons. The Constitutional Court is currently deliberating on the constitutionality of legislation that prevents single women from having in vitro fertilisation and the Left expects the court to give single women access to the constitutionally guaranteed right to freely decide on childbearing.

SDS claims govt hampering opposition's work

LJUBLJANA - The Democrats (SDS) accused the ruling coalition of hampering the opposition's work by calling emergency sessions and fast-tracking legislation as if Slovenia was in a state of emergency. If committee sessions are called 24 hours or less before plenary sessions, the opposition does not have enough time to study bills and prepare amendments, which is "unserious and disrespectful," the party said after the college of deputy group leaders decided to hold an emergency plenary on Friday to pass legislation on bonuses for judiciary officials and amendments to the public administration act.

State secretary discusses EU topics, minority issues in Rome

ROME, Italy - Foreign Ministry State Secretary Marko Štucin was on a working visit in Rome on Monday to discuss topical EU issues, bilateral relations and the problems of the Slovenian minority in Italy, the Foreign Ministry said in press release. Štucin and Italian Minister for European Affairs Raffaele Fitto exchanged views on topical EU issues and preparations for the next EU summit, which will focus on migration among other topics.

Slovenia does better in transposition of EU directives

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Slovenia still has problems transposing EU directives, but it has improved in this department the most among all member states. According to a report released by the European Commission, the share of directives that the country failed to transpose stood at 1.2% in 2021, 0.4 percentage points down from the year before. The share of improperly transposed directives meanwhile increased. Slovenia's record worsened in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Minister says time for Slovenia to give back to sports

LJUBLJANA - Minister of the Economy, Tourism and Sport Matjaž Han expects that the three sectors would benefit from the government restructuring as they are "under the same roof for the first time." He said the ministry wanted to give back to sports as it has been contributing to the promotion of Slovenia for years. The announcement comes as stakeholders in Slovenian sports have been noting for years that the co-financing of the sector from public funds lags far behind the international achievements of Slovenian athletes.

Hydrogen discussed as a key factor to achieve climate goals

LJUBLJANA - A debate hosted by the Slovenian-German Chamber of Commerce and the German Embassy heard that hydrogen is one of the key factors with which the EU member states will achieve the pursued climate goals, so it is necessary to step up related activities, with cross-border cooperation being of great help to individual countries. Vesna Nahtigal, the director general of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS), one of the hosts of the Slovenian-German Hydrogen Day, noted that the competitiveness of industrial production in the EU was dropping in light of high energy prices.

Research Agency gets more funds, restructuring in pipeline

LJUBLJANA - The Slovenian Research Agency (ARRS) has EUR 329 million in public funds available this year, EUR 58 million more than it spent last year. Funds are to increase to over EUR 400 million in 2024, after more stable funding was secured in a new law. The figures were presented after the government decided last week to restructure the agency into an Agency for Research and Innovation in Science (ARIS). Trade unions and representatives of research institutions expressed protest, because they have not been consulted or asked to provide input, nor was there a public consultation.

Pivovarna Laško Union acquires Davidov Hram

LAŠKO - Slovenia's largest brewer Pivovarna Laško Union on Monday became the majority owner of Davidov Hram, a leading beverage distributor in Slovenia. The companies that had previously closely cooperated in the segment of hotels, restaurants and catering (HoReCa) are now becoming strategic partners, said the brewery owned by Heineken.

Young doctors urge loud and clear condemnation of Celje incident

LJUBLJANA - The organisation Young Doctors of Slovenia called for a loud and clear condemnation of the recent assault on two health staff members at the Celje hospital. It is also concerned about online comments minimising the incident or inciting further assaults. The organisation would like to see ruling politicians and media issue a clear and loud condemnation of violence against health staff.

First major piano competition to be held in Ljubljana in February

LJUBLJANA - A piano competition for young performers will be held as part of the Winter Festival in Ljubljana at the end of February and early March for the first time, with Italian pianist Epifanio Comis as artistic director and Slovenian pianist Dubravka Tomšič Srebotnjak as the chair of the jury. The competition will affirm Ljubljana's standing as a city of music and give young pianists an opportunity to build their careers, Darko Brlek, the director of the Ljubljana Festival, said.

Actor's loses appeal against dismissal over sexual harassment

LJUBLJANA - The Ljubljana Labour and Social Court rejected an appeal by actor Matjaž Tribušon against his dismissal as a stage acting professor at the Academy of Theatre, Radio, Film and Television (AGRFT) over sexual harassment accusations levelled against him by his former student. The court decided that the extraordinary termination of Tribušon's employment contract with the AGRFT by the University of Ljubljana was made in a timely manner and that it was justified and lawful.

"Shell cemetery" in Ankaran waiting to be protected

ANKARAN - A small port of St Katarina in Ankaran boats a special habitat of shells of dead sea animals, where some 70 various sea snails and 60 shells have been detected. Locals would like to protect the Shell Dune, known also as shell cemetery, but the land is state-owned and there are plans to expand the nearby port of Koper to this area.

Maribor museum hosts exhibition on human rights violations

MARIBOR - An exhibition spotlighting violations of human rights opened at the National Liberation Museum Maribor. The project is the product of cooperation of 20 individuals and many educational organisations from Slovenia and Croatia. Texts, photographs, audio and video recordings and objects will be displayed presenting cases of violations of human rights in the 20th century. The exhibition will run until October and then tour other cities.

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